'Frightening': Authors detail how GOP’s complicity gets democracy 'into trouble'
During Saturdays episode of MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Willie Geist interviewed authors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, who recently penned a New York Times op-ed titled, "Democracy's Assassins Always Have Accomplices."
Geist asked the authors to explain the current "moment" within the Republican Party, in terms of GOP lawmakers like House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) refusal to denounce ex-President Donald Trump's violent rhetoric.
"Look, studying democracies and crises of democracies all over the world, in Europe, and Latin America, it is very clear that there are three elements to committed Democratic politicians," Levitsky, author of Tyranny of the Minority replied. "Democratic politicians must do three things: They have to always accept the results of elections when or lose. They have to always denounce and refrain from political violence, and crucially, they always have to break from, denounce, try to hold accountable anyone who engages and anti-democratic behavior, And on that third front, there are a set of politicians who look like mainstream politicians and dress like mainstream politicians, they talk like mainstream politicians, but they violate that third tenant."
He continued, "They remain quiet, or maybe they justify, or condone, or protect groups of politicians who engage in anti-democratic behavior. And looking at history, and looking at Germany, and Italy, and Spain, and Chile and other places where democracy has broken down, it is precisely because mainstream political parties, mainstream politicians refuse to break with anti-democratic extremists, and that is what really worries us today in the Republican Party.
Geist asked, "Is it just, Daniel, about power? Is is just that Kevin McCarthy wants to keep his job? He knows these things are all bad. He knows all these crimes that Donald Trump is alleged to have committed, and when asked about it he says, 'Well yeah, what about Hunter Biden?' You know, you can't defend a lot of the stuff we've seen, especially lately, but he changes the subject. Is it just fear of the voters? Is it fear of losing his job?"
Ziblatt said, "I think it's all of those things. And it's often, it's just career-ism. To be a careerist and to think about your future and politics as normal, that's part of democratic politics. But when democracy is at stake, you have to draw a hard line. And one of the points that we draw in our book is that, if you look throughout history, there's often attacks on congresses and parliaments. The question is how do mainstream politicians respond to that. Did they denounce it or did they just look out for their narrow self interest? And when they do that, ultimately democracy gets into trouble."
Geist followed up saying, "So, Daniel, let's go a little bit further here then. It's one thing to enable Donald Trump right now as he's presidential candidate. What happens, though, were he to win? What would that say about where this country is as an American experience and its democracy going forward?"
Ziblatt replied, "Frightening, frightening. We've just seen the last several days, the rhetoric that candidate Trump is using. It's even worse than 2016, saying he will indict his opponent without any basis. I mean, it's explicitly saying that. I think the broader point though has to be that we have to think about 'Why are we in this situation? Why is the United States in this situation?' and even if things maybe feel okay some days, we have to kind of step back and say, 'You know, America is vulnerable to these dynamics. And if not in 2024, in 2028, unless we address the underlying issues plaguing our democracy."
Watch the video below or at this link.
Democratic politicians must do three things: authorsyoutu.be
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